We all seem to think that there's some threshold of importance to our memory; that the events which shape us the most will stick in our minds the best. This ideal of crystal clear recollection for pivotal moments, like a few seconds of footage captured every time our life changes dramatically. As much as we want it to be, though, memory here in real life never ends up being that much like a movie.
The last memory I have of my father before he
disappeared, and one of the only clear ones, was of
him casually mentioning my mother's and my own
weight problem. It was the first time we'd seen
him in a year or so. He wasn't trying to be mean,
I'm sure of it, that wasn't his way -- neither he nor
I had any idea it would be how I would remember him.
Proud, powerful moments get lost in scratches and dust and burnt celluloid -- memories collated and compressed leaving only knowledge of the event itself behind. Seemingly random sections of the reel remain virgin and unmarred, haphazard swaths of film saved without regard to furthered plot or developed characters. Saved memories which may be meaningful or meaningless, important or trivial, their only common point being innate clarity in your mind's eye.
One of my few memories of grade school is of the bus
stop, 7am on a winter's morning. I was the first
one there -- I always was, by my own compulsion, as
my mother had left for work hours earlier. Icicles
hung from an eve on the house closest to the stop,
I got one down by jumping for it. It was bitter
midwest cold out, five degrees minus windchill, but
the icicle still felt good to crunch in my mouth.
Wouldn't it be interesting to watch your life over, observing the forces that shaped you from a third person perspective? To read your own autobiography even having never written it down? Maybe memory loses the important parts for a reason, so we won't spend the greater part of our lives in reverie, reliving the more perfect parts with blissed-out smiles on our faces. Then again, if it were truly permanent we'd have conscious access to all of the pain too, damning us in our dark hours to Clockwork Orange avoidance conditioning via our own bad examples.
Kim was the first girl I remember having a crush
on, when we were both in sixth grade. This is how I
remember her: Crimped, wet-look brown hair, almost
shoulder length. Long, curve-fitting flower print skirt
in browns and blues. Freckles on lightly tanned skin.
Tight fitting ribbed beige short sleeved shirt.
Gold hoop earrings, as big as bracelets, but not
at all tacky. Sarcastic smile, with teeth.